Thursday, November 17, 2016
October 24, 2016
On Monday, the 24th, I got a call in the morning from Andrea that little Bénédict was running a fever and they were taking him to the ER. They were quite worried obviously and also were scheduled to leave Barcelona that afternoon on a flight back to Germany. While I waited to hear from them I spent some time getting my things together since I was flying back to the states the next day. Originally I thought after I said goodbye to them I would have the rest of that day to do it. As it turned out I got everything ready and when I heard they were back in their hotel and everything was going to be OK, we all breathed a sigh of relief but it didn't give us much more time together. I jumped in a taxi and rode to meet them for a bite to eat before they had to leave for the airport. Our goodbyes were tearful but had to be quick since a taxi was waiting to whisk them away.
I must admit I cried my eyes out in the taxi on my way back to my apartment but we agreed we would be sure to see each other soon and we'll have to work it out somehow. Spending time with Andrea and her beautiful family was such a joy! A visit to Cologne (Köln) is definitely in my future!
Later that afternoon I took a walk around the neighborhood for the last time and bought myself a few things, got a few more souvenirs and had a bite to eat.
My flight left at 12:30pm and with the time difference was scheduled to arrive in Philly at 3:45. Alejandro and Fernando were so sweet. They showed up at the apartment in time to chat with me for a while and walk me to the bus. I hadn't thought about that before, how I would probably be doing that alone, but no. They walked with me, hugged me goodbye and said how much they enjoyed meeting me and I them. We were like old friends by now, or it felt like it. I'll never forget them.
I will miss this city so much. I loved the broad streets in the Eixample and the wonderful Modernisme architecture, the old town and the markets, bakeries and coffee or tapas bars on every street, Gaudí's genius and fanciful colors and tile works, the patterned sidewalks and sycamore trees that line the streets, paella, tapas and sangria, opening the doors to my little patio and keeping them wide open while I was inside, talking and sketching with Melanie and Urban Sketchers Barcelona and Inky Fingers and all the wonderful places they shared with me. I loved walking everywhere or figuring out the Metro and using my trusty map to get around. And I loved the people! They were so warm and welcoming and there when I needed them to be. Fernando and Alejandro were the best Airbnb hosts and I loved my apartment there - my home in Barcelona.
It was an amazing experience. I hope to return to see more of Spain but to also return to Barcelona - besides, I have to check on the progress of Sagrada Familia It should be finished in about 5 years!
Adios Barcelona, Hasta Pronto!
p.s. Just a couple more photos to end on. And remember, if a photo looks cut off, click on it.
|Me with the famous crustaeon in Barceloneta: Gambrinus!|
|All the TV's with different programs on them made me laugh on the flight home.|
|On the Rambla with Andrea, Vincent and the boys|
The plan, after my morning of sketching with Urban Sketchers at 48H Open House was to meet up with my friends in front of the Liceu Opera House on La Rambla and join them for a late lunch. Since it was a Sunday and I was now far outside the city center at Torre Bellesguard, my friend Melanie suggested I take a taxi and had one called for me. I waited and waited outside for what seemed like a terribly long time, with no taxi in site, when she and the other sketchers emerged from the tour they had taken inside to discover me still standing there! She was so kind! She called them again (I had no cell phone service there) and insisted on waiting with me this time to make sure I got off OK and before too long I was zooming along virtually empty streets. The taxi driver told me it was because it was lunch time on Sunday and everyone was indoors eating!
I scurried down the Rambla to find Andrea and Vincent and the boys sitting at an outdoor cafe having just recently arrived themselves! I ordered myself one of the giant sangrias that seem more like a bowl than a glass, added my order to theirs and relaxed. We ate, we talked, we laughed until it was clear the boys were ready to move on and so off we went in search of new things to see and explore. They had not yet been to the Gothic Quarter or El Born so we wandered and window shopped and meandered until we arrived at this seductive bakery with the most delicious desserts in the window, not only yummy, but beautifully displayed. We simply had to go inside! It was called Caelum - I couldn't find a website for them or a Facebook page but it's famous for its tasty baked goods, coffee and tea selection and simply lovely interior. The name comes from Latin, which means heaven and it was! Nearby is The Rubber Duck Store kind of strange to see, but El Born has all kinds of interesting shops, so what the heck, I guess, tourists will buy anything!
We stopped near the Santa Catarina Market for the boys to ride their scooters since there was a nice broad sidewalk there and not too many people, quite different from the Cathedral Square where Mercat de Mercats was in full swing! A "Market of Markets" it was filled with stalls selling all kinds of food and drink and a very celebratory feeling was in the air. It was also very crowded and with two little boys and their scooters plus a stroller, we opted to walk on by but I did snap a few photos as we headed in a different direction. I think we ate dinner near there, but to be honest, I can't remember! We were together and that's what really mattered.
|Rubber Ducks in The Rubber Duck Store, El Born, Barcelona|
|Cappuccini and yummy desserts at Caelum|
|The only remaining walls of the old city stand near the Cathedral|
|Large friezes based on Picasso drawings on the wall of the Collegi D’Arquitects de Barcelona|
|Tapas, Tapas, Tapas|
|As it got later, it got really crowded|
|I couldn't resist taking this colorful shot against the medieval castle|
|In case you forgot where you were!|
|Members of Urban Sketchers Barcelona and Inky Fingers at Torre Bellesguard|
|The last page in my sketchbook / journal |
signed by some of the Urban Sketchers in Barcelona
|Mexican Consulate, details. A page from "48Hr Open House Barcelona"|
What an amazing day this was! The urban sketchers group was participating in this event called "48 hour Open House" in Barcelona, something that happens twice a year and they were going to sketch these homes and buildings that are not normally open to the public. And I was lucky enough to be there to join in! I had to take a bus to get to the first location and then walk, following my map to the Consulado General de México, designed by the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, one of Modernismé's masters. The details were so amazing, I decided to just focus on them and not try to sketch the whole house. It has been so much fun to gather with these artist and fellow sketchers at all these incredible locations I never would have found on my own.
|The Mexican Consulate in Barcelona|
Our second location was a walk further uphill to Torre Bellesguard, another "house" - literally, people live in this gorgeous place - in fact I was told that descendants of the original family who commissioned none other than Gaudí himself to design, still do. It was built between 1900 and 1909, at the request inspired by the medieval castle of Martin I, the last king of the Catalan dynasty, who lived at Bellesguard (beautiful view) until he died in 1410. Gaudí restored the ruins of the medieval palace, now part of the estate and built this house as truly a castle in a combination of Art Nouveau and Gothic styles.
I had a difficult time figuring out where to begin! The sketchers fanned out, finding their perfect spots while I scampered around trying to find mine and taking a few snapshots with my cell phone. It was the last page in my sketchbook so I knew I only had one chance at it and frankly it made me anxious! Again, I opted to show a few details first, starting with the tower that is unmistakably Gaudí with its fanciful color and detail. It's quite breathtaking and difficult to photograph and a challenge to sketch!
I finished up adding a very quick small sketch of the entire home and painted a pinkish panel at the right for my thoughts. But then it occurred to me that it was probably the last time I would see these lovely people and asked a few to write something to me on that panel and it made the perfect ending to my Barcelona Sketchbook. I am so grateful to all of them for them openness, their acceptance and warm welcome. What a great way to travel - meeting other people in a new place who love to do what you love to do and doing to together! Art has no language barrier. Thanks Urban Sketchers!
Remember to click on the photos to see the whole image if it seems cut off.
|Torre Bellesguard, details|
|Torre Bellesguard, front door to the house|
|In the Garden, tile details everywhere, part of the medieval castle ruins|
|Unmistakably Gaudí Details|
|Torre Bellesguard, a private residence designed by Gaudí|
|One side of the house|
|Admiring each other's work|